I can honestly say salad is one of my favourite foods.
This isn’t what you typically hear from a sweet-toothed monster like myself. Salad just generally doesn’t get a lot of love.
It’s seen as the healthy alternative. It’s what you feel like you should have gotten when you order fries. People picture sad, limp lettuce in a bowl with a few carrots and an oily sheen.
I get it.
But, I’m here to tell you salad doesn’t have to be the thing you punish yourself with.
It can be so beautiful. A big bowl of crisp, crunchy vegetables in every colour and consistency. Toss in some really flavourful, fun dressing and something extra savoury to make it craveable and you’ve got yourself the perfect meal.
The only thing I don’t like about salad is how tired I get of crunching on it when I’m getting to the bottom of a really big bowl and starting to feel full. It can be a bit tiresome, even if the taste is still sparkling.
If you’re not yet a salad convert, this one might push you over the fence.
It’s hearty and filling, but brimming with so many bright colours and the vitamins they bring with them. It’s partially a warm salad, ushering in those chilly late fall nights when we’re often more drawn to stick-to-your-ribs fare like meat and potatoes.
Though, this salad does technically have meat and potatoes.
When I say meat, I mean bacon. If that doesn’t sell you on salad, nothing will.
This concoction includes: bacon, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, fresh red onion, pecans, goat cheese, apples and spinach. The ingredients list is huge, but, most of these vegetables are seasonal and can be picked up for less than the cost of buying a pre-made salad.
Did I mention the maple dressing?
It ties all of the flavours together.
I love mixing warm ingredients into cold, fresh salad greens. It creates such an interesting contrast and helps all of the different tastes come together.
As C. and I were eating this meal (it’s designed for two, by the way), we were discussing names for recipes. He asked me if I always make up names for my recipes, or if I just go with something closer to what I have in the above title, explaining exactly what the dish is.
I said, to increase the chances of readers finding my recipes, I generally stick with the ingredients when it comes to naming them. But, if I had to name this one, I’d call it the Late Harvest Salad.
I just like the way that sounds.
Apart from the maple dressing, the elements of this dish don’t call for a specific seasoning. For example, you can flavour the sweet potatoes however you like. Same with your sprouts!
I always use the same seasoning for my sweet potatoes and it worked perfectly with this dish. Garlic salt and some cajun spice! If you’re still on a pumpkin pie kick from Thanksgiving, you might try a cinnamon spice blend.
The brussels sprouts I cooked with a bit of olive oil and a bit of the fat from the bacon. It sounds excessive, but I couldn’t resist. Those two things are made for each other.
If you’re a vegetarian, just leave out the bacon. This salad will still make your stomach smile.
The dressing is dead simple and is my go-to for spinach salads. It’s especially good with the goat cheese, with the two mixing together to form an even creamier coating for the salad.
Have you come to the salad side yet?
Roasted vegetable salad with bacon, brussels and maple dressing
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed and roasted
- Seasoning for sweet potatoes (Your choice, but I like a cajun blend)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil for roasting potatoes and sprouts
- 1 1/2 cups of brussels sprouts, halved and roasted
- 5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/3 cup of chopped red onion
- 1 large apple, cored and chopped
- 2 tbsp pecan pieces
- 2 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp light mayo
- Dash of hot sauce
- Cook and crumble bacon. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Peel and cut sweet potato into cubes. Place on one half of a baking sheet with a tablespoon of oil and the seasoning of your choice. Place in the oven for ten minutes. Wash and halve brussels sprouts. Place them on the same baking sheet as your sweet potatoes with an additional drizzle of olive oil or bacon fat. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. Cook both together for 30 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop apples and onion, tossing in with baby spinach and pecans. Crumble goat cheese and bacon on top.
- Mix your dressing with a whisk in a small bowl. There may be a few lumps, but don’t worry. You won’t notice them in the salad.
- Once your sweet potatoes are soft all the way through and your brussels sprouts have begun to caramelize, remove them from the oven. Place on top of your salad and toss with dressing. Serve immediately.